Deck Love: Top 5 Ways to Create a Cozy Porch

I’ve been working hard on getting that deck all whipped into shape and taking it back (literally) from the birds.  And I absolutely love it now.  With the addition of the new all-weather wicker, some comfy new cushions and shopping the house for accessories, it’s all coming together very well.  I had plenty of yardsale finds that were perfect for the space, so I didn’t buy anything extra for that part.

I did make some pretty cool shutters for the window that I’m really excited about.  Love them and I think you will too!  And they only cost about $10 to make for both of them.  Let’s look at where we started on this boring deck:
These plastic chairs were the only purchase I ever made for the deck, since I had plans for a screened porch that would utilize all my REAL wicker that is stored in the garage. But, since that is not going to happen, at least this year, I had to do something with this deck to make it nice and useful at the same time.  I don’t know about you, but my surroundings are very important to the way I feel and if I have a pretty space, it makes me happy.  You too?!   This, it ain’t so pretty!  Just a reminder that the umbrella was a recent yardsale find for $30, so that really got the ball rolling on this project and made me realize I could utilize this deck much better than I had. Walk with me out the door from the living room and this is what we see right outside.  I restained the deck floor, so it looks so much better with fresh stain and that freshened it up a lot.Coming out the backdoor, I added a Welcome sign I’ve had for years.  I just went around the house and found things to use out here that I didn’t need elsewhere.  That’s the good thing about collecting. 🙂 Turning to the right, here’s the whole new and improved space.  I just adore it and of course, will show you all the details.  I found the all-weather wicker at Big Lots and they price matched for me, so all 4 pieces were $250, which I thought was a great deal. I found this 8×10 outdoor rug at Old Time Pottery for $80.  Quite a good deal on a big rug like this. I loved the Greek key border and the cream and brown color was perfect for my porch.  All of the wicker pieces fit very nicely on the deck, with enough room to walk through to the stairs. I anchored the loveseat underneath the double window and you can get a glimpse of my homemade wooden shutters, made out of fence slats.  I’ll do a post showing how easy this was to do.  For about $10 in materials, they can’t be beat.  I think they are just THE cutest things!  This little bakers rack has been with me for more than 10 years and was an Old Time Pottery find years ago.  All the items on here were brought in from other parts of the house.  Of course, I had to have a bunny out here. I potted some plants to bring some color and greenery to the porch.  Those cushions were found at Homegoods and I mentioned that I won a $50 giftcard. That really came in handy and paid for most of the cushions.  They’re a pretty coral color.  When I found this graphic floral fabric at Old Time Pottery, I just knew I had to use it for pillows with my new cushions and it is perfect, I think.  I just love all the colors it brings in.  Oh, and I made these pillows.  As much as I’m NOT a good seamstress, I managed to make these and cover the throw pillows that came with this settee from Big Lots.   I’ll show you that later too, but really, if I can sew, anyone can.  I’m not so good with it at all, but after watching Grandma Eleanor sew up my slipcover and do all that cording, I tried my hand at it too and it worked out pretty good.  Just don’t examine them up close.  🙂   I had some leftover green fabric which was perfect for my cording. This is the little floral stem holder I found recently for $1 and it is a nice little accent here on the table.

That is a deck box I found last year yardsaling for $10 and I decided that a fresh coat of paint would make it look better with my stuff and it totally does.  I used a Hammered Brown finish on it and it looks so much better than the beige plastic it was.  The box holds all my cushions and pillows and keeps them out of the weather.  The wooden planter was a find for $2 and I need to get some small pots to go in there for further color.  Come back tomorrow and I’ll share the painting process and the shutter how-to. The two all-weather wicker chairs will be nice for company.  I can see myself sitting on this deck a LOT now.  I have been picking up little tables and plant stands like this for years, so these came in handy once again out here. This one was $5 years ago.  It had a gold finish and I used my hammered spray paint to freshen it up and make it blend better out here.  Perfect for a little side table between the chairs.  Literally, all the accents out here came from yardsales. The chair on the right and the birdie condo.  They are enjoying this big feeder and we enjoy watching them!  I am just going to bring my upright vacuum cleaner out here once a week and suck up all the sunflower seed shells. When we run out of what we have, we will get the hulled ones next time, so hopefully those shells won’t continue to be a problem. This is the old copper pot I found recently for $5 and it’s a great planter for this Angel’s wing begonia.  Another view of the shutters and plants on that side. That round green plastic tray was a $4 find from Walmart this year.  Perfect for sitting drinks and snacks on.  That wicker coffee table lid raises up too and I can store things in here if needed.

I found this planter which someone had painted green at a yardsale and at another sale, the hens & chicks succulents and this plant has done so well for me.  All that green paint is chipping off the clay pot, but I don’t mind it.

This cute little fairy sign was a House Parts find a few years ago.

I added an iron piece I had to the top of the window. And some zinnias in this planter add color. Here’s a full shot of the 2 shutters, which is hard to get.  They are 6′ tall, I think and I’ll show you all the details on how I made them.  So easy!  Yes, you can see me in the window in my workout clothes.  🙂I do love how much they add to the deck now and the color really is vibrant.  I’ll share that with you too.  I used spray paint! I was trying to figure out where to put those black metal candle sconces and finally decided they just need to go right on the shutters and I love them here.  Another $5 find from long ago for both of them.  Added the dark red candles and I hope they don’t melt in this heat.  I’m definitely going to try them out one evening. The deck box holds it all out of the weather.  I’ll be storing these away every night to keep them looking nice.  Once summer is over, I’m going to find some covers for my chairs and settee too, to keep them dry during the winter months, but otherwise, I think everything out here will weather pretty well, since it’s made for outdoor use. Here’s a shot from below looking up.  I think I’m going to enjoy my new deck space SO much now that I won’t even be concerned about trying to waterproof the underneath patio now. I’ll sill sit in my swing, but that top space is going to be my new hangout place now.

It has a great feel to it now and I’m so happy I finally got it looking pretty.

You can bet this is where you’ll find me morning, noon, and evening.  That settee is even big enough for a decent nap. 🙂  That’s one of the pottery bowls I made in pottery class that I just got back.  I’ll show you all 3 pieces, they turned out really cute.

Here’s my recap on the Top 5 ways to create a cozy porch:

  1. Add some all weather furniture with cushy and colorful pillows and cushions.  If you have a window, frame it with some shutters, homemade or from the store.
  2. A huge umbrella or something overhead to block the sun is a must-have for an open deck or porch.  Extra points for a strong fan to help push the humid air around.
  3. A soft rug underfoot is a perfect way to add a real-room feel to a porch and make sure it is an outdoor rug for maximum weather wear.
  4. To keep pillows and cushions within easy reach, yet out of the weather, a deck box comes in very handy and you won’t mind putting them away at the end of the day.
  5. Bring in some potted plants and flowers to your space for color and a garden feel and don’t forget the garden accessories that look right at home on a porch.  Candle holders are a great accessory for the porch to add some extra ambiance when dusk falls.

So, do you have space that needs sprucing up?  I hope this will inspire you to get busy and pretty it up, so that you can actually enjoy and use it! I’m just thrilled with my new porch, but I’m definitely adding a portable fan out there!  It’s way too hot already.

Shared on Melissa’s Inspired Friday.


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Submit photos of your home and you could win a three spread lay-out of your home decorated for the HOLIDAYS,  to be styled and photographed by Matthew Mead and run in the HOLIDAY 2010 issue of Holiday with Matthew Mead.


Head on over to Holiday with Matthew Mead for all of the contest rules and details.

- Rhoda


  1. Beautifully done, you didn’t miss a single detail.

  2. Being an outdoor lover, this was one of my favorite posts. So many good ideas. Loved the shutters and the painted deck box. I’m curious what brand the paint was. The deck boxes around my pool look awful and a nice coat of paint is just what they need.

  3. What a beautiful makeover! Thank you for sharing all the details. Looking forward to the shutter “how-to.” They are so cute!

  4. Rhoda, It turned out beautifully! Love your deck. Honestly, you can get more “bang for the buck” than anyone I know! The colors are great, the furniture it lovely, and the accessories are just right. I really want to add an outdoor rug to my porch….it makes such a diffrence. And those shuttere – are you kidding? Too cute! Love this post! Linda

  5. What a transformation! You have inspired me to go through my house and move things around. Now that is decorating on the cheap!

  6. Rhoda I think it turned out pretty and cozy. You got a great deal on the furniture. I just finished moving things around in my place from one room to another. Its nice to mix things up a bit and repurpose items…saves money too! PS I love your cushions.

  7. Love, love, l-o-v-e love it!! Oh, Rhoda, it’s just perfect! The red cushions are one of my favorites… the shutters are fabulous…the wicker, well, it goes without saying. I am so proud for you!! Have a wonderful summer on your porch, (if you can stand the Alabama summer! I’m just a hop skip and a jump away in Tuscaloosa!). Have you heard the saying that Alabama has four seasons, Fall, Winter, Spring, and Oh My God it’s hot! Love it!

  8. Beautifully done! Your deck is looking amazing, so stylish and comfy. Your new wicker is very pretty, and I reckon you got a bargain there! My fave bit is your shutters, I love recycled timber, and they just add so much charm to your ‘new’ space!
    🙂 Flick

  9. It looks fabulous, Rhoda! I love everything. It’s going to be a lovely place for you and your hubby to enjoy this summer. My back patio needs sprucing up so bad. This is a real inspiration. Thanks.

  10. Looks fabulous, Rhoda! Inspires me to do a little fixup on the deck, here at the lake.

  11. The way it’s decorated makes a world of difference! Your deck is an extension of your home, so bring the inside out! Your deck should be as much a livable space as your living room. Great job Rhoda

  12. Morning pretty Rhoda! Oh, I love love your deck! It looks so cool and comfy! You really do have ‘the touch’! 🙂 I’d love to sit out there with you and sip some iced tea! Only if it wasn’t above 95′! 🙂
    Be a sweetie,
    Shelia 😉

  13. Beautiful! I too enjoy decorating my patio and small covered porch.
    Lately however, the humidity and heat have been too much. We had
    too short of a spring!
    I enjoy reading your blog!
    Can’t wait to see the shutter post. I am thinking I am needing some shutters for my home!

  14. Love the deck. You have such an eye for color and style. I can’t wait to see how you made those shutters!

  15. It looks so welcoming and the color choices are very relaxing. I am fond of red, so I was drawn to the red, green, brown pallet.

  16. Good morning Rhoda,

    You really took that deck up quite a few notches, it looks so inviting. Nice job!

  17. Looks GREAT Rhoda! I am in the “process” of prettying up my deck too and you have given me some great ideas!

    Thank you and enjoy that beautiful space!

    Lou Cinda 🙂

  18. What a great transformation!

  19. Patti Gencarelli says:

    Love your deck! That is most definitely another “room” in our houses we all need to incorporate into enjoying. I just this weekend saw a lighting system that goes up under umbrellas like yours. Actually saw it for sale at a grocery store with their patio pretties.
    Add windchimes my friend! God’s music – so peaceful.
    Love you!

  20. I LOVE it, Rhoda! I wanna sit out there and drink some iced tea! You did a fantastic job!

  21. Rhoda it looks great. So cozy and welcoming. I would be spending my time out there to.

  22. Beautiful job! Makes me want to come over and have some iced tea 🙂 Enjoy your new deck!

  23. Thanks for all the hard work you did photographing and detailing the steps for us. It turned out beautifully and looks very, very inviting!

  24. I ABSOLUTELY LOVE!!! your new deck!! And yes you have inspired me! I will post some pics after I get mine done! Thank you soooo much for sharing!! Looking forward to visiting often to see some more, and want to see your tutorial on the shutters!!!
    I hope you have a wonderfully blessed day!! 😀

  25. Rhonda,

    Love your deck, you are amazing with all you ideas for
    decorating. Thanks for giving details on how to complete
    the projects. You are an inspiration to many women
    trying to decorate their homes. This is the first blog I
    read each day, thanks again for helping all of us.

  26. Rhoda, Your deck looks so much for inviting now. The rug really warmed it up, but the wicker did too. I am anxious to see how you made the shutters! Very clever!

  27. Oh, I do love those shutters! Can’t wait to see how you made them. Your porch really looks inviting!

  28. I love what you did with your deck. What a wonderful place to sit relax. I only wish I lived close enough to sit there and chat and enjoy it with you!! You have really inspired me, although we are a ways from decorating our patio area. We have work to do to get to that point but I am making plans and ‘collecting’ things for that day, when it comes. I have ‘store-bought’ shutters on my home and I’ve always wanted my sweetheart to build the style of yours. Now I’m sure that’s what I want. Maybe I’ll have to do them myself since he’s working such long, hard hours! I love visiting and seeing what you’ve done with very little money spent.

  29. Gorgeous transformations!! Love what you did with the colors. I need those tropical pillows. Beautiful job! I too just love sitting outside.

  30. Love the deck. I never think to paint plastic things. I will need to consider painting our deck box. I find re-arranging furniture in the house easy but my deck….I’m always stumped! Thanks for the inspiration. Love your posts!

  31. WOW WOW WOW…you would not believe the spray painting binge I have been on since reading your blog! Now, thanks to this post, MORE VICTIMS: my nasty beige deck boxes!!! Never thought of painting them! Waiting for the posting tomorrow with instructions…..

    Two questions: I have been surprised at the tiny amount of paint actually in each can- has the quantity decreased to you or is it just my perception? And secondly, what do you do (if anything) about the moisture that will accumulate under the outdoor rug? I had one once and the decking underneath didn’t do too well- it got all moldy.

    Thank you for the wonderful blog……!

  32. Fantastic deck redo, Rhoda! Love the furniture and the colors you used. We did ours a couple of years ago and love using the space.
    Have a great day!

  33. Rhoda- WOW! All that from a $30 umbrella find! This is me, standing and cheering for you 🙂 You did a very nice job sewing the pillows…those shutters are the crowning jewel, and I see that you are enjoying your new camera? Your photos are lookin’ GOOOOD!!

  34. Gorgeous, cozy & comfy !!! What a transformation !!

    I have 4 deck boxes and it never occurred to me to paint them……. LOL – well it sure did now. Can’t wait to see the difference !!!

  35. Rhoda, this looks so wonderful, the perfect place to relax, have some iced tea, and spend time with those you love. Wish I could come over and visit you there! xo Lidy

  36. I think you did a fantastic job on the deck! What a difference. You have me wanting to go to Old Time Pottery now. I need a bakers rack about that size for the pool area. I love those tall shutters you have under your deck! I have a deck box too that I would love to paint but didn’t know if it would hold up well. Did you use the plastic primer?

  37. Hi Rhoda,
    What a great spot, everything looks so fresh and cozy. I love my covered deck area, and use it like an extra room, you’ll probably wonder how you lived without that space before! You fixed it up really nicely, love the rug! It adds just the right punch. Your shutters are clever and a great additional detail.
    I read somewhere that there are “ceilings” you can install underneath a deck, which capture rain and dirt and divert it – that would be perfect for your space below the deck and make it more weatherproof.
    Google it!
    Have a great day.

  38. Love every angle of your porch. Great tips!
    Bring summer on! 🙂

  39. Wonderful transformation. I really love it. The touch of green does it for me. I love green!

  40. Nice job, Rhoda! Great spot for you to blog from now! : ) Love the cushions and your shutters look great. Can’t wait to find out how you made them.

  41. Great porch! I find myself sighing, “Only in the south.” Here in the Pacific Northwest the rains have not quit..torrential downpours, rotting pansies, gardens not in…and when the rain stops we will find ourseleves with about 8 weeks of summer…if we are lucky!

    Porches like these are never found out here unless they have a real to goodness rough on them. You did a fantastic job!

  42. Very nice, I love my deck too, but mine has the covered roof, I want to screen it in soon too, love being out there when it is cool enough, nice finds you have. Hugs my new friend, Barbara☺

  43. Looks fantastic! Hard to pick out a favorite element, but I love your succulents in the distressed pot. Thanks for sharing this beautiful space. Lots of great ideas!


  44. The deck looks wonderful – so inviting!! Love what you did with the shutters. They look terrific behind the loveseat.

  45. Oh Rhoda, as usual everything looks wonderful. I not only need to decorate an outdoor space, I need to decide what to make one out of. I cannot decide if I want composite decking or stamped concrete or pavers. I just recently saw a stamped concrete patio, that was just gorgeous. I too have stuff stored in my garage waiting for that “day”. However I did my metal gazebo out and set up in a flat spot in the yard, that helps for now 🙂
    Thanks for sharing and have a great week.

  46. It is fabulous!

  47. I love your new deck! It is really comfy and pretty. I especially like your shutters, I have been thinking about making shutters for my little old garage and now I know that I will. I am working on our new patio that my husband made this summer, so your ideas will be useful to me.
    Thanks, Cindy S

  48. Hi, Rhoda
    I love your deck makeover,, cant wait to see how you made the shutters, they look beautiful.

  49. rhoda, this looks so inviting. You did a wonderful job and I love, love the Greek key rug, You need to go to big Lots and find that stool like the one on my front porch, it would look amazing on your deck. Love the pop of green in the shutters, perfect touch. I can tell you will be entertaining outside a lot this year, Enjoy!!! my dear you did a great job, Kathysue

  50. Rhoda, You did it again! I love the deck and it’s wonderful that you were able to do “the shopping” in your home! Love all the accents and you found a great buy on that wicker and rugs. You motivated me to tackle mine. I just admire all the work you do yourself and will be checking back for the shutter instructions.
    PS: I’m so excited to have won your book give-a-way! Thank you! Mary

  51. You really know how to “make a silk purse out of a sow’s ear” ! What a lovely place to enjoy the outside. I always love to see what creative thing you have done….it’s always inspiring.

  52. Rhoda you are amazing! What you can whip up in no time is truly a talent 🙂 love the porch especially the shutters!

  53. Wow, you went all out on decorating your deck. It looks so wonderful and I wouldn’t mind spending time out there too.


  54. Beautiful!! I love the shutters: they’re perfect! Can’t wait to see how to do that. The sweet bunny is the cherry on top!!

    Please share: where did you find Hammered Brown paint? I’ve used a Hammered Bronze, but it’s lighter than what I’m looking for my next project. I want to give an old baker’s rack a new life. I’ve also found an English Brown that’s metallic (& I love the color…) but, it’s not a spray paint. I really need a spray can for that rack.

    Enjoy your cozy new deck!

  55. I love it all, especially the shutters! You and hubby will spend many hours out there. I don’t know what we would do without our covered deck and all the special little things that make it so comfy.

  56. Rhoda!
    You did such a good job! I NEED to get out and get my deck cleaned up and re-painted. Every time I think about it I think of how hot it is outside and then I say ‘later’!!!
    I know you will really enjoy it!

  57. I love it! My favorite part is the baker’s rack–that’s such a great addition.

  58. I am sooo jealous right now! Your deck looks GREAT and so homy and comfy. Best thing, you did it on a budget and shopped around your home. Don’t you just love doing that. Makes me want to get busy on my porches…..been wanting too anyways, but I REALLY want too now. Thanks for sharing!

  59. Rhoda! Your deck looks WONDERFUL! You’ve done a great job making that outdoor space into an outdoor room. Good for you!

    Now I have a question for you. I have some very good outdoor furniture covers. I bought them when I bought my porch furniture. . . but my porch furniture is on a covered porch, so I’ve never really used them. To tell the truth, I’ve never even OPENED a couple of them, but I never got around to returning them. Anyway, I have a loveseat cover and two chair covers. Would you like to have them? I’d be glad to give them to you. Let me know if you want me to email you a photo of them.

  60. Rhoda, I’m SO glad you popped by my blog to tell me I missed the reveal! It’s GORGEOUS! I’m LOVIN’ your spurts of green here and there with the brown and tan…I ADORE your furniture and those shutters, TDF! Thanks again!

    Also, thanks so much for your sweet compliment on my blog about my built in nook. I really appreciate them!

  61. BTW, I’d SO be taking a nap out there!

  62. Kathy :) says:

    I love that rug……great job Rhoda 🙂 It came out so nicely…..

    Kathy 🙂

  63. Hi Rhoda- I have a deck staining project in my future and I’d love any tips,tricks, stain recommendations, etc. Doug built our deck and it’s just the treated wood color. I think he perhaps waterproof/stained part of the deck as some of the trellis siding looks a different shade. It’s a huge project and will be the major thing I get done this summer (or do you think it’s better to wait til fall with less humidity)? And I suppose I should pressure wash it first? Thanks so much for any help. You’re the best. PS – I’ve hidden my blog for the time being. Revamping it and I’ve been getting lots of Chinese spam comments.

  64. Rhoda, your deck looks fabulous! Yes, I’m a day late and just reading this post. Ack! Did you use the new Canon on these pictures? They look great!

    (Sorry if that was already mentioned, I didn’t read all of the comments)

  65. Rhoda – your deck is such an inspiration – I love it! The shutters are totally amazing, I’m going to try making some for our patio, hope they turn out as cute as yours did!

  66. what a great place to hangout and relax in the summer. can’t wait for the shutters post 🙂

  67. Your deck looks fabulous! I must admit I have a fetish for outdoor porches, especially those with comfy seating and swings. I judge a house by its porch or deck. 😉

  68. Love everything! You pulled it together so well. We just built a big back covered porch, but I will definitely keep in mind about painting a deck box. They are so tacky but yours turned out great! Now let’s just hope I can get one at a yard sale like you did 🙂

  69. What a fun idea to hang those shutters back there! I never would’ve thought to do that, but they add so much. Love it!

  70. Rhoda, Your deck looks amazing!!! I love what you did with that space. Such a huge difference. I know you must really be enjoying it. I am still working on my patio, but it is going to take me a while. I am working full time this summer and I don’t have as much time to do projects or blog right now.
    When I do come up with some time, I am hoping to make some pillows for my patio furniture. I love your cushions. I am hoping to go with the red, tan and green colors for mine too.
    Hope you are doing well!

  71. Rhoda, you absolutely did an incredible job on your porch. I love how you utilized the space underneath your deck for additional living space and the swing, beautiful!

  72. Great job Rhoda! Love all the details and the shutters look fantastic!

  73. I love it. Can’t wait to see your shutter tute.

  74. it looks great, I am inspired to imrpove my patio….may be more pillows!
    the shutters are a nice addition!

  75. It turned out very pretty. Nicely done!

  76. I love the makeover and all the different pops of color. Those shutters are also amazing!

  77. Your back porch is amazing! I think my favorite thing may be the painted deck box though! We have an old one on our back patio that could really use a coat of paint. Thanks for the great idea!

  78. Wonderful makeover! Your porch is cozy and welcoming, I would love to sit and sip something cold out there.

  79. Congratulations!! The porch is BEAUTIFUL! I would settle in and never move!

  80. Tricia Heliker says:

    You really pulled this together beautifully. Congratulations on a job very well done. It looks fantastic.

  81. Beautiful makeover Rhoda! And what incredible timing. I was just DIYing on my own patio and was totally disgusted with the mess, not to mention having to clean the inside of my BBQ out from a massive bird nest! LOL!

    I had just started to clean up and wondered how to continue with the look I desired, wishing I had a loveseat and chair ensemble rather than table and chairs and here I find your setup. Wonderful! I’m on the lookout for all weather wicker!! 🙂


  82. I forgot to mention!! Your shutters really make your space so unique. I just love the jazzy colour of them and how you pulled everything in around them. They positively pop in just the right way against the dark wicker. Gorgeous!


  83. Rhoda, I am just in love with your blog and home! I was hoping to redo my front porch this year, but so far throw pillows and a porch swing are as far as I’m gonna get. I was noticing your deck box and admiring it- after I read that you painted it, I realized I have a deck garbage bin that I can do the same thing to!! yay! thanks for the idea! 🙂

  84. wonderful post, love the colours, the accents, the rug. Love your blog, wishing you a wonderful day from Norway, Ragnhild

  85. love love your little space..the shutters an candles on them so sweet(:) Charming (:) Comfy~

  86. Simply gorgeous, I wouldn’t mind spending a lazy summers afternoon sitting there and sipping some tea or some wine in the vening. I am so impressed with your work. Your home is a work of art, very inspired, unique and charming.

    Pandora from Home and Decor

  87. I found you from Beneath my Heart…..

    I love your ‘new’ deck – VERY well decorated – Good Job! The one take-away for me was your deck box that you spray painted. Why have I never thought of that???? I have one exactly like it. My cushions are too big and too many to fit so I use it for garden tools and odds & ends around the patio – I store my cushions on top when it rains (in south TX we use our patios year round). Anyway, I’ve been trying to figure out where to put the big monster where it doesn’t stick out like sore thumb. Now I realize that its blah color makes it stick out! I’ll have it painted by this weekend and it won’t be such a sore spot on my pretty patio.

    Thanks for the inspiration!

  88. How do you keep all of your “knick knacks” from blowing off when a summer storm comes up?


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